Iteration of Partially Specified Target Matrices: Application to the Bi-Factor Case

<p>The current study proposes a new bi-factor rotation method, Schmid-Leiman with iterative target rotation (SLi), based on the iteration of partially specified target matrices and an initial target constructed from a Schmid-Leiman (SL) orthogonalization. SLi was expected to ameliorate some of the limitations of the previously presented SL bi-factor rotations, SL and SL with target rotation (SLt), when the factor structure either includes cross-loadings, near-zero loadings, or both. A Monte Carlo simulation was carried out to test the performance of SLi, SL, SLt, and the two analytic bi-factor rotations, bi-quartimin and bi-geomin. The results revealed that SLi accurately recovered the bi-factor structures across the majority of the conditions, and generally outperformed the other rotation methods. SLi provided the biggest improvements over SL and SLt when the bi-factor structures contained cross-loadings and pure indicators of the general factor. Additionally, SLi was superior to bi-quartimin and bi-geomin, which performed inconsistently across the types of factor structures evaluated. No method produced a good recovery of the bi-factor structures when small samples (N = 200) were combined with low factor loadings (0.30–0.50) in the specific factors. Thus, it is recommended that larger samples of at least 500 observations be obtained.</p>